DHS Admits Border Has Been Open to Criminals and Terrorists

DHS Admits Border Has Been Open to Criminals and Terrorists

Border Patrol agents monitor border crossings in Jacumba, Calif., on Jan. 10, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

James Breslo

James Breslo

5/21/2024

Updated: 5/29/2024

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Commentary
The Biden administration’s experiment with an open southern border has been shocking in the sheer number of people who have come across in a little more than three years, estimated to be about 10 million. But the most shocking thing about the border policy may have just been revealed.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), headed by the impeached Alejandro Mayorkas, recently proposed a new rule. In a statement announcing the rule, the DHS unwittingly revealed that it has not been doing background checks on these millions of illegal immigrants in order to immediately deport those with criminal records or terrorism ties. Instead, it has been leaving that determination until their asylum hearings, which occur many years down the road. In the meantime, they remain in the United States awaiting their hearings.
First, it should be noted that the whole premise upon which these millions of illegal immigrants are permitted to enter the United States is absurd. People are free to cross almost anywhere they please along our nearly 2,000-mile southern border. They are typically not required to enter through an official entry point. Cross the desert, the mountains, or the river at a place of your choosing (or, more accurately, at the drug cartel’s choosing). No problem, we will bring border patrol to you and gladly process you right there and allow immediate entry.
They are processed and allowed in because they are being treated as refugees seeking asylum, not illegal immigrants as before. That is the hook and the key to the open border experiment. U.S. immigration law (Title VIII, Section 1158(b)) provides, “To establish that the applicant is a refugee ... the applicant must establish that race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion was or will be at least one central reason for persecuting the applicant.”
But the vast majority of these immigrants are not coming here to escape persecution. They are coming because they are poor, which has never been grounds for asylum. If they were escaping persecution, where are the reports of millions of Central and South Americans being persecuted because of their race? Where are the reports of millions being persecuted because of their religion?
The vast majority of illegal immigrants will be denied asylum at their hearings years down the road because they do not qualify. But now we learn that not only does the DHS allow people to remain in this country for years despite knowing that they do not qualify for asylum, the DHS allows known dangerous immigrants to remain here.
“Federal law bars individuals who pose a national security or public safety risk from asylum,” the DHS states. Yet, the agency acknowledges, “the asylum eligibility determination is not currently made until later in the process—at the merits adjudication stage of the asylum and withholding of removal claims.”
We know that only occurs years later. The statement announces that the “proposed rule would permit Asylum Officers to consider these bars to asylum and withholding of removal during initial credible fear screening, which happens just days after an individual is encountered.” This, according to the statement, “will allow DHS to expeditiously remove individuals who pose a threat to the United States much sooner than is currently the case, better safeguarding the security of our border and our country.”
After more than three years of allowing in millions of illegal immigrants, the DHS has just now come up with the idea that maybe, just maybe, it is a good idea to deport those with violent criminal histories and ties to terrorism immediately instead of after their asylum hearings years down the road. It gets worse. They still have not changed the policy. Incredibly, they propose this as an administrative rule change, requiring a period for public comment. Comments are due by June 12. Thus, the rule cannot even take effect until later this summer.
If President Joe Biden can overturn former President Donald Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy with his own order on day one, a move upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, why can he not issue another order changing this policy immediately? Of course, he can, but this administration, while seeking to now look tough on illegal immigration just in time for the election, is not in any hurry to reduce the number of immigrants coming across.
According to the statement, “Noncitizens who present a national security or public safety risk remain in DHS custody while their cases are referred for full immigration hearings before an immigration judge, a process that can take years and is resource intensive.” Thus, some illegal immigrants are currently not released into the country, according to the DHS. Instead, apparently, taxpayers foot the bill for their room and board for years while they await their asylum hearings, which the DHS often already knows they will fail because of their criminal or terror-related past.
But there is good reason to believe that they are not all, in fact, detained. A DHS senior official recently told reporters on a call about the proposed rule: “I will say this is really intended to be a national security and public safety measure. And so it is intended to ensure that, again, the individuals that we are most concerned about that we encounter—people with serious criminal histories or links to terrorism—can be removed as early as possible in the process.”
If they are detained for years until their hearings, as they claim, then how is this a national security and public safety issue? Clearly, because this has not always happened, and it appears that the DHS now realizes it has a serious security problem.
Just look at the case of Jose Ibarra, who has been charged with the murder of Laken Riley, a nursing student who went out for a jog on the University of Georgia campus and never returned. He was first arrested in September 2022 by Customs and Border Patrol officials near El Paso after crossing the border illegally. He came from Venezuela. He was then “paroled and released for further processing,” according to border officials. Paroled means that you are free, awaiting your asylum hearing years down the road. He was put on a bus to New York. There, he was arrested for endangering a minor. Because New York City is a sanctuary city, ICE was not notified. He was arrested again in Athens, Georgia, for shoplifting. Athens is a sanctuary city. Again, ICE was not notified. He then allegedly killed Ms. Riley.
There are no reports about his criminal record in Venezuela, but considering his criminal record over a period of months here, odds are that he has one.
In likely related news, the FBI and DHS recently issued a joint public service announcement warning that foreign terrorist organizations could target events during Pride Month. In particular, officials cited “ISIS messaging” focused on “anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric.” Why are the FBI and DHS suddenly concerned about ISIS in the United States? Could it be that people with ties to ISIS have crossed our southern border in the past three years?
And we learned recently that two illegal immigrants tried to drive a box truck past security guards and onto a Marine base in Quantico, Virginia, earlier this month. The Potomac Local News reported that one of them is a Jordanian national who had recently crossed the border, and that at least one was on the U.S. government’s terrorist watch list. A similar incident occurred in March, when an illegal immigrant from China forced his way onto a Marine base in Twentynine Palms, California.
Now that we know how the DHS has been handling illegal immigrants with criminal records or terrorism ties, this all makes sense. The agency clearly has a major problem on its hands.
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James Breslo

James Breslo

Author

James Breslo is an attorney and host of the “Hidden Truth Show” podcast. He is a former partner at the international law firm Seyfarth Shaw and public company president. He has appeared numerous times as a legal expert on Fox News and CNN, and serves on the Heritage Foundation's Project 2025 Public Diplomacy committee.

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